Tag Archives: food choices

Cafeteria purchases feedback helps employees make healthier food choices

Automated emails and letters that provide personalized feedback related to cafeteria purchases at work may help employees make healthier food choices. That’s the conclusion of a new study that was led by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and is published in JAMA Network Open.

Photo by Max Vakhtbovych on Pexels.com

As many adults spend half (and sometimes more) of their waking hours working, the workplace provides a unique opportunity to promote health with programs that target obesity, unhealthy diets, and other risk factors for chronic diseases and premature death.

Building on findings from previous studies, researchers designed the ChooseWell 365 clinical trial to test a 12-month automated, personalized behavioral intervention to prevent weight gain and improve diet in hospital employees. For the trial, 602 MGH employees who regularly used the hospital’s cafeterias were randomized to an intervention group or a control group. For one year, participants in the intervention group received two emails per week that included feedback on their previous cafeteria purchases and offered personalized health and lifestyle tips. They also received one letter per month with comparisons of their purchases with those of their peers, as well as financial incentives for healthier purchases. Control participants received one letter per month with general healthy lifestyle information.

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Smart food choices

Following these tips can help you maintain a healthy weight, get the nutrients you need, and lower your risk of chronic disease.

  • Try to eat and drink from these food groups each day: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy. Variety is an important part of eating healthfully!
  • Cut back on foods and beverages that are high in calories and added sugars, sodium, and saturated fats. Shift to healthier options like fresh fruits and vegetables instead.
  • Instead of high-calorie snacks, such as potato chips, try nutrient-dense snacks, such as carrots.
  • Instead of fruit products with added sugars, such as fig cookies, try fresh fruit, such as a peach.
  • Instead of regular cola, try water flavored with fruits or vegetables.
  • Use a food diary to help you keep track of your total daily calories, carbs, protein, etc., and see if you are making healthy choices. Understand how many calories you need based on your level of daily activity.
  • Choose a variety of foods that are packed with nutrients and low in calories.
  • Check the food labels to understand what foods will meet your nutritional needs each day.

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Why we choose the donut over the apple – MNT

As a person who has had a weight problem for much of his adult life, food choices loom large on my radar. I love snacking, pizza, cheeseburgers, you name the junk food, I likely love it. However, I weigh in the mid 150 pound area and have done so for the past seven years. What has worked for me is clearly thinking about what the food means to me in terms of my health. Not focusing on how good it is going to taste and how much I have always loved that flavor. I tie my action to its likely consequences. The clear goal of eating healthy has been my solution. These researchers have some interesting ideas to add to the discussion.

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Everyone knows that an apple per day is a more healthful option than a donut and yet, given the choice, many people would still choose the donut. A new study has revealed that food choices could be down to the associations that we make with food-related stimuli.

Researchers explain why the urge to eat a donut is mightier than the urge to eat an apple — even though the apple is the more healthful option.

 

Aukje Verhoeven, Sanne de Wit, and Poppy Watson, all psychologists at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, conducted the research.

Their findings were published in the journal Appetite.

The consumption of unhealthful foods is on the rise around the world, which is contributing to the more than 1.9 billion adults who are overweight globally.

Among children in the United States, more than 27 percent of calories each day come from snacks, including salted snacks, candy, desserts, and sweetened beverages. This could have hazardous consequences for their health.

Learned cues affect food choices

Government initiatives have focused on making people more aware of the adverse effects of eating unhealthfully. However, most people fail to adhere to the recommended food guidelines, and eating behaviors often remain unchanged.

Though it is not clear why informational interventions do not work, evidence suggests that food-related stimuli in the environment may play a role in triggering unhealthful eating habits.

“Health warnings often make people want to choose healthier food products, yet many still end up picking unhealthy food products,” explains Verhoeven. “We suspected this might partly be due to the fact that people learn to associate specific cues in their environment with certain food choices.”

For example, seeing a large “M” sign in the environment has been linked to reward, such as eating a cheeseburger, which then prompts a craving and could trigger a trip to the restaurant for a burger. Continue reading

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Filed under food choices, good weight loss foods, ideal weight, normal weight gain, snack foods, Snacking, weight control, weight loss

Dining hall intervention helped students’ choices

As I have written in some of my blog posts on the brain. It is our frontal lobes that separate us from the rest of the creatures on this earth. That’s where our conscience resides and our decision-making takes place – our impulse control. It is a fact that the frontal lobes are the last to develop, often times this part of the brain is not developed until the individual reaches age 25. Personally, I found this fact to be an excellent explanation of why I made some of the really dangerous choices I did as a teen. It is well to keep this slow development fact in mind when thinking about freshmen in college living away from home for the first time in their lives.

As students transition from high school to college, they enter a critical period for weight gain. Although eating in a buffet-style dining hall offers freedom and flexibility in food choice, many students cite the abundance of food available as a cause for weight gain. As most college students’ diets are low in fruits and vegetables and high in calories, sugar, fat, and sodium, researchers from the University of Toronto and Memorial University of Newfoundland created a cross-sectional study to examine whether messaging encouraging fruit, vegetable, and water intake could influence the habits of university students.

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“Our labeling, focused on beverages and fruits and vegetables, may have been useful to decrease students’ consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and increase consumption of , fruits, and vegetables,” said lead author Mary Scourboutakos, PhD, post-doctoral researcher at the University of Toronto. Continue reading

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